The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) praised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his decision today to deem some employees within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) as “excepted,” allowing them to return to work during the government shutdown.
The USDA decided to excuse these individuals from the furlough so that they can continue to ensure that veterinarians and farmers have access to the important vaccinations they need to keep their flocks and herds healthy. Without them there, the CVB cannot test or release new vaccines into the marketplace, leaving veterinarians and farmers faced with a dwindling vaccine supply, which could endanger herd health, food safety and public health.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his thoughtful action in resuming the approval of batches of vaccines, which are essential to keep food animals and the public healthy,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA’s chief executive officer. “We always emphasize that healthy food starts with healthy animals and allowing veterinarians to have access to critical vaccines is an important preventive measure that must continue even in the midst of the federal government shutdown. I applaud Secretary Vilsack for reevaluating the merits of this program and having the foresight to appreciate its importance to ensuring a safe and affordable food supply for Americans.”